Campaign for Africa University launched

A campaign to increase Africa University's endowment fund to $100 million, as well as raise some additional funds for capital development, entered its public phase Sept. 12.

The Campaign for Africa University, a four-year effort to raise $50 million, was unveiled at a banquet celebrating the work of longtime supporter and board member Maggie Jackson, who is retiring from the board.  

Lucas said the campaign will provided much-needed scholarships, funding for faculty chairs and for research support to help attract faculty.

"Another component of this campaign will upgrade our teaching and research facilities as well as our fast-changing technology," says, Aubrey Lucas, chair of the campaign.

Aubrey Lucas outlines a campaign to increase Africa University's endowment fund to $100 million during a Sept. 12 banquet celebrating the work of longtime supporter and board member Maggie Jackson.
 

"It is my hope that the campaign will make possible new facilities and buildings, scholarships and endowed chairs that will enhance the university's effectiveness in teaching and learning, research and innovation, and provide spaces for each student's interaction and engagement."

James Salley, AU's associate vice chancellor for Institutional Development, told the Advisory Development Committee on Sept. 10 that $26.2 million in cash and pledges had been already been committed for the campaign.

The current endowment for the university is $63.4 million, Salley told the committee members. An endowment fund keeps the principal amount intact while the investment income is available for use, which allows donations to have an impact over a longer period than if spent all at once.

A $100 million endowment would transform the campus of the United Methodist University in Zimbabwe, said Munashe Furusa, Africa University's vice chancellor.

A significant portion of the funds already raised for the campaign has come from United Methodist annual conferences, Salley said. As the campaign enters the public phase, donations will be sought from major individual contributors.

The campaign plans call for about $12 million to be raised through planned giving, such as legacy donors.

Salley said apportionment fund receipts for 2016 are at $963,548, or 42 percent of the expected funds donated annually by local United Methodist churches. Last year, 31 of 56 annual conferences gave 100 percent of their apportionment fund ask for Africa University.

Income for 2016 so far includes $575,451 from the Special Projects Fund; $317,706 from the Direct Scholarship Fund; $619,938 from the Endowment Fund.

Salley also reported that the Ubuntu Retreat Center, a $1 million project funded by the West Michigan Conference, is complete and has been housing guests.

In addition, a number of annual conferences completed significant fundraising efforts for Africa University this year, Salley reported.  

The Mississippi Conference raised nearly $1.4 million for scholarship endowments. Illinois Great Rivers raised $1 million for scholarship endowments and $1.3 million of a $1.6 million campaign for an endowed chair and scholarship for agriculture.

The Louisiana Conference has raised $454,000 toward a $1 million campaign for scholarships and the New York Conference has received more than $400,000 toward a $1 million scholarship endowment fund.

Vicki Brown, news editor for United Methodist News Service and Rick Wolcott, is director of communications, East Ohio Conference.

One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Africa University Fund transforms Africa by educating and empowering students from across the continent through Africa University, the first fully accredited, United Methodist-related educational institution on the continent. The Africa University Fund supports the general operating expenses of Africa University including faculty and staff salaries and vital infrastructure. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Africa University Fund at 100 percent.